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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Best Pictures: my favorite L.A. themed films, Part I files/2009/02/

I thought it'd be appropriate to celebrate tomorrow's Academy Awards (which I'm not planning on watching) by listing my top ten favorite films that actually take place in Los Angeles:

1. Topping the list is
Crash (2006). There's a good reason why it won Best Picture. It's a powerful, moving film dealing with the racial and cultural animosities in modern Los Angeles. Rated R for language, sexual content and some violence.

2. A similar film is the 1991 film
Grand Canyon, starring Danny Glover and Steve Martin, which also deals with the racial and ethnic divides here in Los Angeles. Both Crash and Grand Canyon could really take place in any major American city.

As a Christian, I wish that more Christian movies (yes, this is really a genre) dealt with issues like this, rather than the usual sentimental fluff.

Both Crash and Grand Canyon are great films, despite the fact that they seem to have more questions than answers.

The Aviator, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, chronicles the life of a young Howard Hughes from the 1920's to the 1950's, much of which took place here in Los Angeles. This including a Hollywood Premier in the late 1920's, Hughes crashing a plane in a residential neighborhood in Beverly Hills, and the flight of the famed "Spruce Goose" in Long Beach in the 1940's.

The Rocketeer also has a couple of scenes featuring Howard Hughes, but that's where the similarity ends. The Rocketeer is pure fantasy - and one of the few films on the list I'd even consider appropriate for kids. This 1991 period adventure film from the folks over at Disney is rated PG for mild violence. And great soundtrack, too.

5. Even less appropriate for kids - and what I would not consider a family film - is the 1988 Touchstone (a division of Disney) production Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

I kind of have a love/hate relationship with Roger Rabbit. The visuals are incredible, winning three Academy Awards. I really enjoyed the setting: Hollywood 1947, involving the "Big Red Cars" of the Pacific Electric, Los Angeles' old mass transit system.

On the other hand, the language, sexuality, and honestly creepy violence do not make it appropriate for kids. If you think that all animated or Disney films are family friendly, think again.

More films in Part II


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